It was great to see all those Australian Christians gold caps being donned by the supporters at every booth in Niddrie to support Frank Papafotiou in Saturday’s by-election. We certainly came out in style and numbers. Elections are a bit of a roller coaster experience with both the excitement of arriving at electoral judgment day and reasonable anxiety over how that judgment may be exercised. Leaving your fate to what is often a cruel public is not for the faint hearted and Australian Christians was well represented by Frank who conducted himself with confidence, humility and a positive attitude. And with his fantastic project management skills, Frank had everyone well equipped with professional handouts and got himself around the booths like a true professional.
I suppose at the end of the day the only party really ecstatic is the party that takes the seat. But as a party that really cares about the moral compass of the community, the results are worth reviewing less in terms of winning or losing, but more in terms of the concerning trends these results reflect.
Every booth in Niddrie on Saturday had a very visible Sex Party presence. And while we were all standing together talking and competing for the vote, it was good to marvel how great our democracy still is with people so ideologically at odds all able to stand together and not just be civil but quite neighbourly. In other parts of the world, people are literally dying to get to the polls and others killing when they get there.
But the down side of this thought was just how much we take democracy for granted. The informal vote is a sad reflection of this; nearly 11 % of the total vote. These people that chose to make a ‘donkey’ vote, were they protesting or just apathetic? Freedom to elect our own representatives is a precious freedom yet most of us don’t even bother to find out who these individuals willing to represent us are. And there is a sadness on the heart of many concerned parents at the values represented by those that are voting. In what may be described as one of the more conservative electorates in Melbourne, another 8% consciously voted for the Sex party and 10% for the Greens – both who promote social agendas detrimental to the vast majority of Australian families. This makes the vote for Australian Christians, which was just under 6%, a challenge. The conservative vote was of course divided between some independents and the DLP, however the informal votes, Greens and Sex party polling represent almost 30% of this conservative electorate which is a sobering reminder of how much work really needs to be done in our city.
For Australian Christians, the new kid on the political block, it was a sobering but good start with the results confirming just how desperately our society needs a revival of the values that build families and inspire hope. We know all to well that it’s not where you begin in life but where you end up.